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Heartland Naturopathic Clinic Email Newsletter - November 2005
The following are our email
newsletters with helpful information on staying well and our
practices. They include articles on home care, natural healing,
cured cases, commentary on current issues in the field of health
care and medicine and other interesting and useful information.
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* The Bird Flu Hysteria and What To Do
BIRD FLU HYSTERIA
What to do? The bird flu is on its way….. Or is
it? Lets look at the facts before we all run out and start taking the
drug Tamiflu®. First, many people commonly use the word “flu” to
describe their bad cold or stomach “flu.” This is incorrect medical
usage. Influenza is a severe upper respiratory infection caused by
influenza A or B viruses. If you are not sure of these distinctions
for more information.
The bird (or avian) influenza is a viral infection
of birds caused by the “H5N1” influenza virus. Currently it is not
primarily a human disease. However, a few people have contracted it
directly from sick birds. Less then 100 of these people have died. All
of these human victims lived in Asia and worked directly with, or even
lived with, sick birds. There is no evidence any North American birds
have contracted the virus yet. So far the only way for a human to get
bird flu is from handling a live sick bird. You cannot get it from
another human, thus it cannot be transmitted from one human to another.
In addition, it cannot be gotten from eating poultry (well, maybe if you
ate a sick bird raw right after it had died, but even that is unlikely),
nor is it likely to ever find its way into pet birds kept indoors.
Given that the bird flu is not really a human
disease, what is the media’s and the World Health Organization’s
(WHO) concern? The WHO is concerned that this virus could mutate and
begin to infect humans directly and cause a worldwide pandemic influenza
outbreak that could lead to millions of deaths. Once in known history
this kind of pandemic occurred. In 1918 what was called the “Spanish
flu” broke out and spread around the world. It was the worst acute
infective disease tragedy in history. Many millions died all over the
world from what was thought to be a “swine” flu. It is feared that
this could happen again. However, it is worth visiting history one more
time to look at the threatened pandemic of
“swine” flu of 1976 that never was.
Much like today, health officials predicted another
pandemic and initiated a nationwide vaccination program that had tragic
results. (I love this quote.) “For the most part, the vaccination went
more smoothly than even expected, with less than the predicted side
effects and deaths.”(1) However, because of many problems the
vaccination program was aborted after less then a quarter of the
population was vaccinated. While the swine flu never appeared, in some
people the vaccine triggered Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare chronic
paralytic disease similar to polio. With these kinds of risks we don’t
want to panic again.
WHAT TO DO
Of course, just because the last predicted
influenza pandemic didn’t happen, that doesn’t mean that this one
won’t. No one knows. What do we recommend if it did? Well, we
recommend the same things we recommend for any influenza infection.
Support the immune system with the recommended immune support found in
our handouts and at http://www.heartlandnaturopathic.com/self-care.htm.
The immune system is capable of responding the same whether the
infection is from bacteria, a common virus, or influenza of the common
or a pandemic variety.
In addition to the usual immune support infection
protocols, homeopathic remedies are extremely effective with any
influenza. The combination (mixed) homeopathic remedies that are found
in the health food stores might be effective. Plus, the single
homeopathic remedy occillococcium is supposedly specific for influenza
and it may be wise to stock up on it just to have something in the
house. However, we find that neither of these non-specific homeopathic
approaches is as effective as the individually matched homeopathic
remedy. To maximize your potential of responding as quickly as possible
the best results will always be achieved by consulting with a trained
homeopath and getting the single homeopathic remedy matched to how you
are specifically responding to the infection.
During the 1918 pandemic homeopathic doctors and
hospitals had incredible success treating the victims of that deadly
influenza.(2) In our own practice we have seen a success rate with
influenza that is phenomenal. A few years ago the flu vaccine didn’t
have the correct strains of influenza virus in them so there were more
than the usual number of people coming in for acute homeopathic
prescriptions. We were very successful with nearly every patient.
Usually patients saw an improvement within hours of the correct
Influenza is a difficult acute disease to
self-treat. Although you should do the home treatments recommended,
coming in to the clinic or arranging a phone consultation for an acute
homeopathic remedy specifically tailored to your case will maximize you
and your family’s potential for a quick recovery. No other treatment,
natural or pharmaceutical, works as well for influenza as acute
homeopathy. At our clinic we have had very consistent success with flu
cases, no matter how severe. It is worth noting that the
recommended drug for influenza, Tamiflu® (oseltamivir),
only increases the speed of recovery by 1 to 1.5 days.(3) The correctly
prescribed acute homeopathic remedy does much better than that!
If the bird flu becomes a general threat to humans
by mutating as feared, homeopaths around the world will study the
illness’ presentation so we can be ready with the appropriate
remedies. How is this helpful? We find that every season, influenza
strikes with a pattern that is fairly consistent for that particular
virus for that year. This allows us, once we have seen a few cases, to
narrow the homeopathic remedies we need to select from down from
hundreds to three or four. This information gets shared in the
homeopathic community and greatly increases the accuracy of our
prescribing when that strain of virus arrives locally.
Although nothing may come of this year’s
influenza pandemic hysteria, if this bird flu mutates and breaks out
into the human population, homeopaths will be ready and you have
(1) Silverstein, Arthur M. Pure Politics and Impure Science: The
Swine Flu Affair. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University
Perko, Sandra J. Homeopathic Treatment of Influenza - Bird Flu
Edition, Benchmark Homeopathic Publishers,
(3) Physicians’ Desk Reference, 59th
Edition, Thomson Healthcare, Inc., 2005.